Passengers transiting through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will soon be able to visit landmarks and tourist attractions in the country after authorities gave approval for a change in the existing visa policy, Khaleej Times reported.
According to the Arab publication, the policy will extend to all airports of the UAE and aims to enhance transit visa procedures to enable stopover passengers to enjoy a day out in the country, thus boosting the tourism industry.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will be leading the preparation of the new policy “considering the possible positive effects it will have on the tourism sector and the economy in general”, the English daily cited cabinet sources as saying.
Over 70 per cent of passengers passing through airports in the UAE’s in 2017 were transit passengers.
The new visa policy is expected to decide on visa fees, proposals to increase the number of transit passengers and ways to promote tourism in the country.
Earlier last month, the Dubai Airports had unveiled a proposal that would allow transit passengers to leave the airport to experience the city.
“In Dubai, transit time will become tourism as passengers are encouraged to leave the airport to experience the city,” the Dubai Media Office had tweeted then.
According to a video that the office tweeted, the ‘Microcosm of Dubai’ project proposed city-wide itineraries that guide passengers who are in transit in Dubai for more than four hours. Those in transit for under four hours will get a “virtual tour” of the city.
Nearly 4.5 million passengers transit through the Dubai International Airport every month, reaching more than 50 million a year. Of these, an estimated 46 million do not visit the city.
Most passengers remain in the concourse, shopping or having food and beverages. Nearly 14.9 million tourists visit Dubai annually and the figure is expected to hit 20 million by 2020.
This article originally appeared in Khaleej Times